31 August 2009

Can forseeable consequences be unintended?

There is an interesting piece on Croakey about the need for a more considered planning process for the Australian H1N1 vaccination program. It spells out the need for precaution in relation to the administration of the vaccine and to not rush into repeating the mistakes of the 1976 US swine flu mass-vaccination campaign.

I'm not suggesting that an HIA would be appropriate in this case - in fact I think it wouldn't be. It does however raise some interesting points about whether potential consequences that can be foreseen (the transmission infectious organisms through multi-dose vials and Guillain-Barré syndrome are both mentioned in the piece) can ever be regarded as unintended?

Sarah Curtis wrote a fantastic article on the related issue of having to make decisions about risks as part of HIA when much of the information required to make these decisions is unknown (within the context of discussing the broader concept of risk society). As HIA practitioners we have to deal with similar issues regularly - what are your thoughts?

25 August 2009

More news on HIA in New Zealand: Funding opportunities and evaluation survey

The New Zealand Ministry of Health's HIA Support Unit has announced a new round of funding for HIAs through its learning by doing fund and a survey as part of the evaluation of the unit. More information

US EPA Graduate Fellowships, including HIA

US graduate students are eligible to apply for the US Environmental Protection Agency's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) fellowships, which include human health as one of several topic areas topic and incorporates health impact assessment. For more information go to the Star Fellowships webpage.

The closing date for applications is October 22.

15 August 2009

European Health Forum, Gastein

From Lea den Broeder

From 30 September to 3 October the annual European Health Forum will take place in Gastein, Austria.

This is a major event in Europe for all who are interested in health policy and research. This year the focus will be on the impact of the financial crisis on health and health care. What are the threats, what are the problems, but also: does the crisis provide new and unanticipated opportunities for health? Other topics will be Health inequalities, Sustainable healthcare, Health technology assessment and Transferring knowledge into action. Top speakers and workshop leaders from policy, industry and research will provide food for thought for all participants. Highly recommended!

For more info look at http://www.ehfg.org

7 August 2009

News on Health Impact Assessment in New Zealand

The New Zealand HIA eNews has come out:

In this issue, we talk about five different skills you'll use when doing an HIA - project management, relationship building, literature reviews, facilitation and report writing... Our focus on key skills is to get you thinking about your own strengths and weaknesses so you can plan to build up your skills in your weaker areas.

Access eNews

6 August 2009

IAIA UK Climate Change Adaptation and IA Conference

From Debbie Fox

The Ireland & UK Branch of the IAIA is pleased to announce the opening of bookings for its conference on:

Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and their integration into Impact Assessments

This full day event (9am – 4pm) will be held on Thursday the 8th October 2009 and is brought to you jointly by the Ireland & UK Branch of the IAIA and the Met Office. The conference will be held at the Met Office Headquarters in Exeter.

The conference will provide the latest thinking and advice on how to consider climate change adaptation in the impact assessment process. The latest conference programme can be downloaded from: http://www.iaia.org/publicdocuments/affiliates-and-branches/ireland-uk/CCAdaptation_&_IA_8Oct09v1.pdf

The day is split into three sessions providing delegates with Government, Professional, and Practitioners perspectives. Each of these sessions is designed to provide up-to-date information and guidance, they will also provide delegates with an opportunity to ask question and briefly debate key issues. Delegates will also get the opportunity to go on a tour of the Met Offices Headquarters during the lunch break to learn more about the Met Offices activities in relation to climate change.

The conference is sponsored by Golder Associates (www.golder.com) and is designed for those working or involved in impact assessment (e.g. EIA, SEA, SA, HIA, etc). The event is open to all and we encourage you to forward this email to colleagues and contacts you feel would be interested in attending the event, a poster for the event is also attached to help you promote this event on behalf of the Branch.

The costs to attend this conference are:
£65 (+VAT = £74.75) for IAIA members
£100 (+VAT = £115) for Non-members

Golder Associates have kindly agreed to process bookings for this event. To ensure your place is reserved at this essential conference call: Maxine McArdle on 01865 870 000, or email Maxine_McardleATgolder.com with the subject: IAIA_8thOct. Payment is by credit card or cheques - made payable to: Golder Associates UK.

Note: Only 45 delegate places are available at this conference and due to security restrictions at the Met Office HQ booking before the 1st September is advisable.

For further details please visit:

We look forward to seeing you at this event.

3 August 2009

Special issue of IAPA on the effectiveness of impact assessment

Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, the journal of the International Association for Impact Assessment, has published a special issue the effectiveness of impact assessment instruments.

IA effectiveness is a pet subject of mine but I think that the issue will be of interest to any HIA professional. Though none of the articles deal with HIA specifically the issues discussed are all relevant to HIA practice, in particular Urmila Jha-Thakur's excellent article on the importance of participatory learning in SEA.

The issue includes articles on:

Introduction: The effectiveness of impact assessment instruments
pp. 91-93(3)
Authors: Cashmore, Matthew; Bond, Alan; Sadler, Barry

Effectiveness in social impact assessment: Aboriginal peoples and resource development in Australia
pp. 95-110(16)
Author: O'Faircheallaigh, Ciaran

SEA and planning: 'ownership' of strategic environmental assessment by the planners is the key to its effectiveness
pp. 111-120(10)
Authors: Stoeglehner, Gernot; Brown, A.L.; Kørnøv, Lone B.

Rationality and effectiveness: does EIA/SEA treat them as synonyms?
pp. 121-131(11)
Author: Elling, Bo

Effectiveness of strategic environmental assessment - the significance of learning
pp. 133-144(12)
Authors: Jha-Thakur, Urmila; Gazzola, Paola; Peel, Deborah; Fischer, Thomas B.; Kidd, Sue

Evaluating strategic environmental assessment in The Netherlands: content, process and procedure as indissoluble criteria for effectiveness
pp. 145-154(10)
Authors: van Buuren, Arwin; Nooteboom, Sibout

Sustainability-focused impact assessment: English experiences
pp. 155-168(14)
Authors: Therivel, Riki; Christian, Gemma; Craig, Claire; Grinham, Russell; Mackins, David; Smith, James; Sneller, Terry; Turner, Richard; Walker, Dee; Yamane, Motoko

Access the issue

Matt Cashmore, Alan Bond and Barry Sadler have done a good job guest editing the issue and I think it will make a substantial contribution to the update of the International Environmental Impact Assessment Effectiveness Study [PDF 6 Mb] that is currently underway.